Over our many years of going to sales we have noticed some indicators that more than likely, the sale is going to be a waste of time. Of course, none of these are 100% accurate and even the worst-looking sale can turn out to have some gems (as Meghan can tell you, once she pulled a pair of big-E Levi’s out of a bin at a sale which seemed to have nothing but junky toys). However, with so many sales out there, sometimes you want to maximize your chances of finding the best sales by skipping the probably-lame ones.
Here’s our list of things that make our suck-detectors go off:
- The sale is excessively hard to get to. It always seems unfair that it’s not the other way around. If you have to work really hard to find a sale, it seems only fair that the payoff should be great. Right? Sadly, it doesn’t seem to work that way. Most of the times when we’ve been led down a circuitous route to a hard-to-find sale, via bad or missing signs or a confusing address, it turns out to be the worst sale of the day. I don’t know why.
- The signs are drawn by kids.
- Balloons are present.
- They only have about six things out for sale. The odds that they are going to be the six things you are looking for are really, really small.
- The sale just looks bad when you drive past it.
- It’s in a part of town with no sidewalks. This might be specific to Seattle, but we have found that the no-sidewalk-land sales tend to be skippable.
Again: there are exceptions. So don’t start getting all smug because you went to some sale with hand-drawn signs and balloons that was out in the furthest reaches of the no-sidewalk part of town and it was the BEST. SALE. EVAR. We’ve been to good sales that fit each one of these guidelines. But as general rules to help figure out which sales aren’t worth our time, we think they are fairly reliable.
As Jenny mentioned, our basement sale was great. However, besides the guy showing up two days early, there were more than a few other annoying incidents that she neglected to mention. Most people were great, but some of them were driving us crazy with behavior such as the following:
- People came an hour early (the line was huge).
- Someone stole one of the planters in front of my house!
- After we let 10 people in some folks demanded (and I mean verbally upset DEMANDED) to be let in, and when we told them “no” they threatened to leave. This was a farce, since we knew in the middle of March no one else is having a sale. (O.K. unless someone died, you got me there!)
- Complained that it was too dark. It’s a basement, lady.
- One confused woman lost her coin purse in our “free box,” then made me spend 20 minutes helping her look for it.
- A couple wanted to purchase one of the book shelves, so I had to take everything out of it, moved it over by the door, and then they decided not to buy it.
- Another woman had me help her out to her car with her stuff, she was old and I was fine with helping, but then she asked me to rearrange all of the items in her car for her (no, I’m not kidding).
Still, it was an awesome sale.
One of the things we’ll be doing from time to time is laying down our version of the rules to follow when having a sale or when going to sales. Believe me, there are a lot of things that you can do to make your sale more successful, have a better time shopping, and avoid pissing off your fellow sale-goers and all of humanity.
Rule #1 applies to both sellers and shoppers: Don’t be a dick.
If you do nothing else, try and stick to that. You will have so much more fun and make everyone else so much happier.
There are countless examples I could give, and some of the ways one can express one’s dickishness will surely be dealt with in subsequent rules. However, here’s a prime example from just last weekend One of the sales we hit was a benefit sale at a church, raising funds for a leukemia patient. As we were checking out, we heard the cashier talking about how she’d sold something to someone earlier that day. After the sale was made, somehow it was discovered that she’d charged way less than she should have. The cashiers explained this to the person, who was like, “Sorry! I already paid!” and walked off with the stuff (whatever it was – I didn’t get that part).
Now, I can understand wanting to stick to the original price … but it’s not like the sellers just changed their mind on a whim or something. The cashier made a mistake and accidentally undercharged. At a BENEFIT sale. For someone with LEUKEMIA.
Don’t be a dick. Really, we’ll all thank you.